I’ve had a dullness in my spirit for the past few days. Maybe weeks? It’s been like a pit in my stomach, even after good gatherings. While I love to see when the Spirit of God meets people when we gather, my heart grieves, and continues to do so. It feels like a certain priority is being overlooked among us, and especially in the broader church, worldwide. If you were to come with me to my prayer closet, you would hear me pray and say things t hat you‘d never hear me say as I lead prayer. In fact, I’m sure that if I told you the things I said in the presence of God, you would feel the need to advise me. But, I’m not asking for an answer. How do you answer a groan? How do you answer a yearning? I want you to see what I am seeing, and to feel what I am feeling. It is not about the devil. It is not about the presence of the enemy encroaching on the church. My yearning is concerning us.
It’s not that I would ever question anyone’s love for God. I can’t see anyone’s heart. It should be unquestionable, whether a Christian loves God. That’s never the issue. Still, I get the impression that while most believers profess a love for God, they carry an even greater love for themselves. That’s the problem. For all that is to be said about being a “seer”, I often don’t “see” a lot of things. The reason why is because I make myself busy, carrying a burden. It is a burden expressed in intercession, shepherding, and crying aloud as the Lord speaks to the depths of my own soul.
So, here it is to the best of my ability: There is a posture; a way that we must have before God. It’s not about performing more. It is not about doing more stuff for Him. It’s not even about going to the Merchant, delivering groceries for On the Porch, or even giving money to Deliver Hope Uganda. It is a death to self that must happen. It is the conviction that like Jesus, cries “Not my will, but Thine be done!” It is a life posture that looks the same as a person’s emotional and heart-felt worship posture. There is a humility and submissiveness that comes with it. It prioritizes the Kingdom, and dethrones us from our own kingdom, ushering us into the reality of following Jesus — the real Jesus. Still, the love of self will keep Him near our home, never to enter in. We’ll hear Him, observe His works, and know a lot about Him, but He will remain on the outskirts of our home, standing at the door knocking as you dutifully care for your own house, ignoring the One who wants to save you.
Friends, the love of self will destroy you faster than your love for God will rescue you. It literally will make the very Word you confess to become unfruitful. Jesus, when speaking of those who followed him actually demanded, not just love for Him, but a hatred for one’s self. How greatly this contrasts with the current church culture that actually celebrates the love of self. Tragically, we try so hard to protect our life; our priorities; ourselves. Yet, God shines upon those who abandon all, and focus upon Him.
Self love is the bane of the New Testament. It is public enemy number one. It opens us up to all sorts of evil. So much sinful activity as well as strongholds have their welcome mat to your soul when we love ourselves. When self is the priority, it is easy to be offended. It is easy to compare one’s self to others in the hope of beating them. We don’t dare to look bad when compared to other people! We may even do things “for God” in the hope of surpassing “the Joneses” in the great race to look good before people. This is all self love. It literally locks you out of the closeness with Jesus that is required to be His disciple.
Can we also look again at Ephesians 4, as Paul tells us to walk worthy? How do we walk worthy? The answer is simple: Lay your SELF aside. Yes, before we even have the discussion of becoming an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor or teacher; before we discuss the idea of being an elder or any credible, authorized voice among the saints, we must meet these virtues: Lowliness, gentleness, patience, bearing with one another in love, and finally, the endeavor to keep unity in the bond of peace. How can one serve God in any capacity without dying to self, and upholding these virtues in our life?
Still, I don’t want to only speak to those who wish to be five-fold ministers, but to all who claim the name of Jesus and have given themselves to be disciples. You should never be your own priority. Peter tells us to cast our cares up on Him, because He cares for us. Yes, you are God’s priority. Your growth resumes when you trust God to take care of you, and you prioritize how you treat others. When…you…prioritize…how…you…treat…others.
My admonition today is that we change our posture. Let us exemplify the very meaning of prayer that is expressed by a great man who said, “Prayer is the offering up of our will, in exchange for His perfect will, with thanksgiving.” Let us repent, and de-prioritize our own lives; our own selves. Let us take a new posture of worship, not just with our lips, but with our lives. Let us die to ourselves so that we can COME ALIVE to God. This is what will usher in fresh life and revival in our midst. It will change your household and your marriage. It will combat the oppression an depression that has plagued so many of us. In our abandonment of our own agenda, we will find God, and His rewards will come with him. But first, your way must die.
Scriptures to meditate on:
If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:26)
And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful (Mark 4:19)
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon [money, possessions, fame, status, or whatever is valued more than the Lord] (Matthew 6:24, AMP)
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death (Revelation 12:11)
Make every effort to come to me quickly, 10because Demas, in his love of this world, has deserted me…(2 Timothy 4:9)
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof (Matthew 6:33-34)
For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s (Philippians 2:21).
And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. 25For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? 26For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels (Luke 9:23-26).